Day 325 – My Fragmented Self

41 – 100 Tips Essential to Being a Smarter Better Twitterer

I am plenty smart, and as a result, I don’t want to be a “better twitterer“.
If that is even a proper word.

I just want improve my writing, photography, makery… I don’t want to have to worry about where it goes. I don’t want to know about Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, or even WordPress. It is just totally unimportant.
Continue reading Day 325 – My Fragmented Self

Day 300 – The Write Ambitions

66 – The Write Life Presents: The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014

So many links to follow. So many posts to read.
The links today had a lot to offer. I almost got lost in a maze of twisty passages, all alike.

To continue writing after my challenge is over and to grow an audience from there, I’ll have to make a few changes to my routine and the way I write. I think it is abundantly clear that I need to come up with a properly focused scope for my blog. Or maybe I need to segment my blog between everyday ramblings, and my real writing. This challenge is just too disorganised to grow an audience on.

I am not a morning person, but Shanan at The Procrastiwriter makes a compelling argument for a morning writing routine. I know that some of my most rushed challenge-posts were written past midnight when I really just wanted to go to sleep. Writing in the morning, and not posting till it’s done would be a good foundation for consistent quality. It is also hard to use good judgement in a sleepy haze; “good enough” at midnight rarely still is at 9am.

And then there are 7 fixes to write better by Mary Jaksch at Write To Done that I might want to exercise as well. Which would involve leaving a post sitting for a day anyway so that I can somewhat objectively check my work. Again something that isn’t compatible with my challenge, but probably essential beyond it.

For anyone out there with a drive to write, I would recommend having a look at today’s link. The list of websites is well organised into topics and types of writing. There’s probably something useful there regardless of whether you want to blog, write novels or freelance.

Day 297 – Beginnings

69 – 100 Best First Lines from Novels

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and so does a novel.

I think I’m getting really good at beginnings, but my middles could use some work, and sometimes I just don’t know how to stop. Stopping is tough; ideally I should stop at the point where the writing ends, but I think I often go well past that.

Good middles probably require revision. I’d like to blame the hectic schedule of one post a day for a total lack of revisions on my part, but I think it is also a level of laziness. I have what it takes to do revisions. I do them at work all the time. Agonising over the right tone and content of an email. Some paragraphs get re-written and replaced a half-dozen times before finally materialising as I intend them. Not that it takes particularly long either; I do all my agonising very quickly and efficiently.

I really have no excuse, other than a certain level of laziness and burn-out.

So far, the toughest part of this writing challenge has been trying my best not to re-tread the same ground too much. I’m sure I will have doubled over some terrain more than was called for… but I do not have a particularly good memory, and I really couldn’t tell you what I talked about more than a few posts ago without actually reading my own blog.

And there have been a few tough days.

Sick days. Mentally drained days. Bored and uninspired days.

Pulling a post out of nothing on one of those has made me question more than once whether I should just call off the rest of my challenge. More than once I’ve told myself that getting to 150… halfway… 250… surely is enough to prove the point. I can just stop and it’ll be just like I did an actual 365.

And although that’s true on one level. It’s also completely untrue on the same level.

And I’m just too stubborn.

Once I start something I have an almost obsessive need to finish it. I have listened to some terrible music, watched some terrible movies and read some terrible books all the way through, simply because I couldn’t bear to give up. There has been exactly once that I stopped reading a book before I finished it. And I won’t shame it by naming it.

And there it ends.

Day 296 – Am I Winning Yet?

70 – Top 100 Australian Blogs Index

Sadly, my blog wasn’t anywhere to be found on the ranking list.

The fact the linked list was compiled in 2007 before this blog existed in its current form is an irrelevant detail. This kind of blogging ripples backwards in time and alters the past without altering the present. (I hope?)

Seriously though… I am still not sure whether the goal of this exercise is to end up on a list somewhere or not.

First and foremost I started my 365 challenge to get in a regular habit of writing to improve its quality. I haven’t looked back yet to see if I’m making progress, so I am going to declare that “yes, I have”. If needs be, I’ll go back to the earlier posts and make them worse so that reality conforms to my opinion. And you’ll never be able to tell… because maybe I already did it before I posted this. Nobody remembers 295 posts verbatim.

I think I might want to make this blog “successful” in some form.
I think I’ll need a more specific focus for my writing.
I think I’ll need to wait till I’m not trying to write every single day.

The most natural choices would be to write about either programming or managing. But those are very well-served segments and I’m not sure I would have as much success as more established bloggers.

I could go straight into NaNoWriMo mode and try fiction. That could be entertaining. From zero to novel. It’d have to be a journey starting at ineptitude which has potential. But I’m not sure how confident I feel that the result would be worth the time to an audience.

I could also try to do something with the video-production-cooking points in my list of goals. The visual medium is inherently more captivating. But maybe I need to get more interesting first 😉

I can feel the shape of something floating in my brain, but it’s like it is out-of-focus blurry and amorphous. It feels like something worth doing, but I cannot put my finger on the details of it. It feels like it has something to do with what I’ve written today, either directly or tangentially. Have you ever felt like your thoughts are almost-but-not-quite perfectly resonating with a great idea. Like that.

Something.

Out there.

In my brain.

I need a mirror, a flashlight and a set of tweezers. STAT.

Day 289 – From a List

77 – 100 Writing Topics

I don’t own a 100-sided die, so I cannot pick randomly… I’ll pick 40.
I may want to get back to this list because there are some great ideas on it.

Favourite Places to Visit

I like visiting the Gold Coast. I like being in one of the hotels over summer with the window open and the sound of the rushing waves in the background through the night. Whenever I am there, I try to visit the Zarraffa’s coffee place there. It’s more a ritual than anything else, because the ridiculously intense barista has long-since left the place. He made the cappuccino’s like he was putting the final flourishes on the Venus De Milo. I love walking along the beaches. I specifically love walking from Surfers to Broadbeach to get cake from Madison’s Cafe. It’s worth the 30 minute hike in the surf.

I like visiting the Hunter Valley. It’s been too long since I’ve been there. It is the perfect combination of wine-trial-and-error, chocolate and Smelly Cheese Shop. My favourite stay is still when my parents were over from Europe. We stayed in a bunch of converted train carriages. We made port pears. And then when we were sufficiently sozzled, we folded paper air-planes for flights across the Safari carriage. There are plenty of other interesting hotels, but this one had the major redeeming quality of being pet-friendly.

I live visiting the burger and fish shops down the end of the road. Of course, anyone would say the same, but these make some of the best fast/fried meals I’ve ever had. Right At The End Of The Road! I wish it had a nicer space to sit whilst sipping a coffee. So take-away it is.

I like visiting my gym. I was perfectly happy with Fitness First for many years… and then I switched to Virgin Active. I had no idea. I apologise. You are clearly superior Virgin. I like nothing better than finishing my day at the gym and starting my evening after. I have a habit of taking my work home with me inside the back of my brain. The gym seems ideally suited to help me switch off. 30 minutes of intense cardio fogs up my brain enough to shut my background processing off.

I like visiting Wet’n’Wild. As is clear from past bloggings. I’ll miss it. It’ll be back in September… presumably. Another Gold Pass for me. I hadn’t been for 6 weeks or so before last weekend. I wasn’t sure it would be as much fun as I remembered. Oh, how wrong I was to think so. It didn’t take more than a few minutes to remember why I like going there.

I like visiting Featherdale as well, even though it’s less my thing than Abbey’s. I like taking the camera with me and trying to capture the animals in interesting ways.

I feel bad for all the places I’m missing, but now these are first in my mind.

I think it indicates I need to travel a bit more.

Day 226 – Fatigue

Still not getting to sleep at a reasonable time.
It’s not that I’m not tired, but my brain is too alert and swirling with ideas.

Maybe this is just like how it can be hard to fall asleep when a problem is still stuck in my head. When that happens I’ve had a lot of success with writing everything down that I might worry about forgetting and then it just allows itself to switch off.

Maybe something similar applies here.

Tomorrow evening I will start putting all my ideas somewhere that I will not forget them. Fingers crossed that’ll help.

And in between I make ice cream.
Sin will be over to make Port Pears with me.
There will be pictures.

There won’t be samples.

Sorry.

Day 217 – Yet More Writing

I really should not be setting myself further challenges. I guess I just cannot help myself; I’m a glutton for punishment through terrible ideas.

I was watching Fringe tonight, which is a mixed experience and has nothing directly to do with the terrible idea as such. It was more a catalyst to the idea than anything. It made me think about all the things I’d have done differently… the plot predominantly, or possibly the characters to some extent, because let’s be honest… the science in that show is remarkably unscientific, but it has a certain quirkiness about it that leaves me ready to suspend disbelief to a remarkable extent.

But then my train veered left and thought; why not try to do some writing of my own rather than criticize someone else’s?

I don’t think I’ll write something for public consumption, but I’ve let two NaNoWriMo‘s swoosh by without actually doing anything, and there is no time like the present (year) to make a more concerted effort. Which also leaves me enough time till November to prepare myself a bit better.

I will want to re-listen some of the Writing Excuses podcast to help me get started. And I might want to spend the next 9 months gestating ideas. 50,000 words is the official target. Just under 2000 a day. When I blog I write 200-300 in about 10 minutes, so I may also want to practice spending 2 hours at the keyboard to see if I have the willpower to just write like that.

And I’ll need to break my terrible passive-voice habit.
And possibly clichés?

Also, in an awkward coincidence the first three days of NaNoWriMo overlap with my attendance at PAX in Melbourne this year. I’m not sure if that will offer inspiration, but I am hopeful.

Day 171 – Contemplating Holidays

Holidays have a habit of flying past.
I don’t like the sound that particular “deadline” makes as it whooshes by

And there are plenty of things I’d like to do (more) of over my 3 weeks off:

  • The projects in my sidebar
  • A trip down the coast at the beach
  • More photography
  • More/different gym classes
  • More Wet’n’Wild
  • More time with (new?) friends
  • More reading
  • More writing
  • … and then some

I don’t think I have enough time for all of it. But I should make sure I fit in a decent mix of everything. I want to avoid ending the holiday feeling there are too many things I completely didn’t touch on.

I think I should put together a “balanced diet” in my activities to neither end up with a sugary entertainment high and subsequent crash, nor an over-self-improvement hangover.